Fish Pole: Aug. 29 Update from the KI Nation Paddlers

For lunch today we stopped by a fast-flowing stream that enters the Fawn from the west amid a grove of large old white spruces that form a great camping spot. Terry said that this place is named “Fish Pole” in the language. We didn’t have to ask why.  

Within 20 minutes Richard had caught half a dozen gorgeous 2 pound Brook Trout. They are fascinating fish whose colourful spots blend perfectly into the pattern of the pebbled river bottom. Brook Trout need very clean, cold water to thrive as they do in these waters. The rivers up here have some of the healthiest Brook Trout populations anywhere.

We fried them in butter with sesame seeds and dill, then smoked the leftovers over alder for lunch the next day. Yum.

We’ve been practicing our Oji-Cree words with some help from Terry.

Memchekoosy gizhidabo masamegoos nestendagwen.

That means “white person cooking brook trout is dangerous.”

Keep it in the Ground: Aug. 30 Update from the KI Paddlers

Last night we camped at the confluence of the Fawn and Otter Rivers. The Otter is the biggest tributary to join the Fawn yet. Upstream at the source waters of the Otter, within the Fawn River watershed, De Beers Corporation has staked diamond mining claims behind KI’s back.

After the KI Nation successfully prevented Platinex Corp. from drilling in the Big Trout Lake they resolved to ensure that their watershed would never be contaminated. The community recorded in writing the Indigenous law protecting their home lake — a teaching passed down orally through the generations by the Elders.

Following a year long community process the KI Water Declaration was passed with overwhelming support by referendum, followed by a resolution from Chief and Council and a sacred blessing. The Declaration bans all industrial activity from the watershed of Big Trout Lake and the Fawn River forever under KI Indigenous law.

Please help KI by writing to the Premier of Ontario to urge him to respect the KI Water Declaration.

After watching KI beat Platinex and pass their Water Declaration De Beers committed to never again explore on KI land without consent from the community.

KI’s control over KI Homeland is real and powerful. They are ensuring that they will have clean water and Lake Trout forever.

Carbon Safe: Aug. 30 Update from the KI Nation Paddlers

KI’s visionary decision to protect their watershed benefits the entire planet. The boreal forests and wetlands of the KI watershed are part of the largest land based carbon storehouse on the planet. 

The thick layers of moss and soil in this ecosystem play a critical role in stabilizing the climate by storing twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests. That makes the boreal the largest land-based carbon storage system on earth!

The KI Elders call the muskeg wetlands the “breathing lands.” Indeed they are the lungs of the earth.  Respecting KI’s decision to keep their watershed intact is our best shot at keeping these carbon and methane reserves safely locked up and out of the atmosphere.

Tonight Rory caught a huge 38-inch pike fish at our camp site by Pants Off Creek. We ate it with soy ginger sauce on rice.  

We also learned more Oji-Cree words today.

Agoweebech makajouer cheemanes. That means “hurry up and paddle the canoe.”